A day ahead of the the much-awaited judgment on September 30 by the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case, here's everything you need to know about the dispute that has impacted the state's politics for the longest time.
According to Babri mosque inscriptions, it was built between 1528-29 by the Mughal Emperor Babur.
Three years later, Babur's general Mir Bagi came to Ayodhya, supposedly destroyed a pre-existing temple dedicated to Lord Ram and built 'Masjid-i-Janmasthan' (mosque at the birthplace) at the same site.
Core of the dispute
The Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute has played out for almost seven decades, climaxing in the late 1980s and early 90s.
Follow our LIVE blog on the Babri Masjid demolition verdict here
While Hindus said that the mosque was built on top of a Ram temple – after demolishing or modifying it in the 16th century, Muslims argued that the mosque is their sacred religious place — built by Mir Baqi in 1528 — and that Hindus desecrated it in 1949, when some people placed idols of Lord Ram inside the mosque.
On December 6, 1992, kar sevaks (activists) demolished the Babri mosque in an event that triggered riots across the country. On 6 December, 1992, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) organised a rally at the site involving over 1.5 lakh volunteers, known as kar sevaks. Soon, the rally turned violent, and the crowd overwhelmed security forces before demolishing the 16th century Babri Masjid.
Also Read: CBI court hearing on Babri Masjid demolition: Key things to know about the case
Aftermath of communal riots
The event of demolition prompted communal riots across the country in which more than 2,000 people lost their lives.
FIRs and investigation
As many as 49 FIRs were lodged after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh's Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.
After concluding its investigation, the CBI had filed a chargesheet against 49 accused, of whom 17 have died pending trial.
A special CBI court was constituted in Rae Bareli on July 8, 1993 to hear the case. However, in April 2017, the Supreme Court transferred the Rae Bareli case to the special court in Lucknow.
Senior figures named in the case
In 2009, a report by Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan found 68 people to be responsible for the demolition of the mosque, most of who were from the BJP. Among those named were senior political leaders including Uma Bharti, Atal Behari Vajpayee, LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi among others.
Witnesses produced by CBI
CBI counsel Lalit Singh told that arguments of the defence and prosecution concluded on September 1 and thereafter the special judge started writing the judgment.
The CBI has produced 351 witnesses and about 600 documentary evidence before the court.
Special Court's verdict tomorrow
CBI judge SK Yadav had on September 16 directed all the 32 surviving accused to remain present in the court on the day of the judgment. With both Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh convalescing in separate hospitals after coronavirus infection, it was not immediately known if they would be present in the court at the time of pronouncement of order.
On 9 November 2019, the Supreme Court, while awarding the disputed site to Hindu claimants, noted that the demolition was “an egregious violation of the rule of law
". The court also directed that either the central government or Uttar Pradesh government should allot land measuring five acres to the Sunni Central Waqf Board for construction of a mosque within Ayodhya.